Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mandarin in China

An article on BBC News reports that according the the Chinese Ministry of Education, some 30% of the people in China don’t speak Mandarin, of the 70% who do speak it, “many do not do it well enough”. As a result the Chinese government has apparently “launched another push for linguistic unity in China”. They […]

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Chinese, Language 2 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 8 Comments

La gueule enfarinée

I discovered an interesting French expression yesterday while ferreting around in the dictionary – la gueule enfarinée, which literally means ‘the floured mouth’, but actually refers to someone who is ‘wet behind the ears’, i.e. new, untrained, inexperienced, immature, innocent, callow or naive (synonyms from The Chambers Thesaurus). The word gueule usually refers to the […]

English, Etymology, French, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Docent

I came across an unfamiliar word today in a book I’m reading – docent. From the context I guessed it referred to someone who leads guided tours, but according to my English dictionary it means ‘(in the U.S.) a lecturer in some colleges and universities’, and it comes from the German word Dozent (associate professor, […]

English, Etymology, German, Language, Latin, Words and phrases 11 Comments

Back in Bangor

I’m now back in Bangor after a very enjoyable and interesting week at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. We learnt 15 songs during the week, so the course wasn’t as intensive as the one I did last year when we learnt twice as many songs, and we learnt about the background of the songs, and even saw […]

English, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Travel Comments Off

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Language 6 Comments